Hundreds of supporters of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and left-wing parties held nationwide demonstrations Saturday over an increase in fuel prices.
Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy on Friday announced that the price of diesel will be increased by Rs3 (24 fils) per litre, kerosene by Rs2 per litre and domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by Rs50 per cylinder, excluding state levies such as VAT.
The hike came a day after the government announced that food inflation had soared to nearly a ten-week high of 9.13 per cent for the week ending June 11. Reddy claimed that the price hike was minimal.
In New Delhi, BJP demonstrators demanded a rollback. "Instead of listening to the complaints of the common man, the government is showing a no-mercy attitude by raising the prices of essential commodities," said the BJP's V.K. Malhotra, Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi state assembly.
"The hike in prices of fuel and cooking gas is unjustified," he added.
Shouting slogans against the government and asking the people to join in, the party organised the protest at Jantar Mantar.
Scores of workers of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) also staged a separate protest against the fuel hike. Prabhat Kumar of the CPI(ML) said: "Once again fuel prices have been hiked. The hike is a burden on the common man."
"Jaipal Reddy's statement is absolutely rubbish. This shows his arrogance," said Kavita Krishnan, central committee member, CPI(ML).
Members of the All India Youth Federation (AIYF), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India, and the All India Students Federation (AISF) also marched to protest against the price hike. AIYF leader Ameeq Jami said, "If the government is not ready to change its policies then citizens of India will change it. Its job is to work for state welfare."
Before the hike, oil marketing companies suffered losses of Rs13.72 per litre of diesel, Rs26.16 per litre of kerosene and Rs381.14 per LPG cylinder, according to official sources.
The BJP also held demonstrations at several places across Maharashtra, including Mumbai. In Andhra Pradesh too opposition parties staged protests across the state. Activists of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) and the BJP took to the streets in Hyderabad and other cities and towns to protest the fuel price hike.
Raising slogans and burning an effigy of the government, the activists staged protests at several places in the state capital.
The opposition parties took out rallies in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Tirupati, Nizamabad, Karimnagar and other towns. Women carrying empty cooking gas cylinders also joined the protesters.
From / Gulf News